Major Guilt and Buckets of Tears 16

It is either already or almost Thursday in much of the world so instead of Wordless Wednesday I share this post inspired by Breathe In Now « Try Defying Gravity.

Mistakes Made, Opportunities Missed and Guilt

I still cry sometimes over all the mistakes made and the opportunities missed. I think it is a common parental condition that comes with the autism spectrum diagnosis. I usually try to avoid talking about it publicly because I know my daughter hates to see me cry, not because she does not care, but because she cares too much. The diagnosis does not bring the tears in my case, the guilt does. All the years we failed to understand her and caused her life to be more of a struggle than it should have been bring tears.

Opportunities Missed: More Understanding, More Family Time, and More Travel

There are buckets of tears for opportunities that we missed, not for more therapy, but for more understanding, for more family time including travel that included consideration of her sensory sensitivities. The tears flow over the visits to Georgia never taken to visit my family after disastrous travel experiences due to our lack of understanding of transitional and sensory difficulties. I flew to Dad’s funeral alone when she was fourteen months old for this reason and to Mom’s bedside as she lay dying, alone again, for the same reason. I cry for all the times I failed to adequately explain to family and friends how much I wanted to be there and why I could not.

Others’ Lack of Understanding and Condemnation Including Doctors

Rivers of tears fall when I remember all the times I failed to protect her from others’ lack of understanding and from their condemnation of her and us. I cry for all the years we allowed doctors to treat her like a lab rat instead of a child with a big heart. I cry for the years we treated her differences like they are something to be ashamed of when they are not.

Seeing Her Heart

More tears for every time people have let her down and I have failed to call them on it. Many still do not see the heart of my delightful child who is now a wonderful teenager, soon to spread her wings as she blossoms into an exceptional young woman. I cry because I cannot get all those wasted opportunities back.

Cherishing Now

The best I can do is cherish the time we have today and hope and pray for more joy in her life in all of her tomorrows.  I encourage her as she shares her story, and I work to educate others so other little girls and their families benefit from our mistakes.  I work on forgiving myself and others, as I hope and pray for a future where acceptance and kindness are the norm regardless of people’s differences. I also pray everyday asking God to send his angels to watch over my family and to help heal the world.  I am grateful for the Delightfully Different Life I get to share and for the opportunity to educate others.

Trust Is a Fragile Thing 14

Every Child Deserves Acceptance and Love

This is a picture of my innocent child with her grandfather in a shared moment of happiness.  She did not get to know her wonderful grandfather because this was his last birthday.  This child like every child on earth deserves understanding, acceptance, and love.

How Do You Recover Lost Trust?

Two days ago the Word Press post-a-day topic was a question.  “How do you recover lost trust?”  The bonus promote was:  “If someone lets you down or betrays you, how do you learn to forgive?  And can you possibly learn to trust them again?  Why or why not?”

I have repeatedly mentioned that I believe in forgiveness.  I have explained why in prior posts so I am not going to repeat myself today.  You can click Forgiveness and Gratitude from the menu at the top of this page for more information. However, I do want you to understand that I too still struggle with forgiveness as my child still struggles with the effects of being misunderstood and with the effects of past bullying.

One of the effects is lost trust. My child lost trust in doctors because doctors misdiagnosed her when she had classic traits of Asperger’s and  sensory sensitivities from the time she was a toddler. We took her to these doctors. We listened to their poor advice before I finally said enough and took her for a full evaluation with a neuropsychologist where we first heard the word Asperger’s.

More Trust Lost

Our family was just starting to mend when bullies made things worse. This resulted in more lost trust as we had to force her to go to school on the advice of the school and the psychologist. We tried to convince her to switch schools the following year; however, Asperger’s makes change difficult and we did not insist because the school worked with us.

Prayers and Education

I pray everyday for help to forgive those who hurt my child. I am not sure how to get trust back, but I believe forgiveness will help. This is why I wrote the book. That is why it is so important to educate others.

Please help me educate others so no more sweet innocent children are misunderstood or mistreated.

Addendum

My daughter left the school of her dreams after this publication when an English teacher single-handedly decided that my daughter was too “high functioning” to have Asperger’s. This same teacher reported my daughter as a disciplinary problem when she missed school due to sinus infections with laryngitis brought on by stress.

This was while the school counselor and I were trying to help my daughter with issues related to the long-term effects of bullying and still having to deal with those involved. The combination of the teacher’s attitude and the other things she was dealing with caused my daughter to shut down. Yet, she managed to bravely tell the school dean of her decision to withdraw from the school due to their failures. You can read about it here: Gratitude for Inspiring Daughter. That was almost two years ago and during that time I have helped my daughter with symptoms of PTSD while working to forgive all the people who failed her including us.

She is on the mend and dreams of going away to college to escape Oahu and start fresh. You can help her accomplish this goal by sharing our story and purchasing my novel. Right now her dream college is out of our budget. BTW We live on an island in the middle of the Pacific, so the only way she can go away is to pay out-of-state tuition.

Autism Awareness for Our Girls Too 17

Go here to see Taylor Morris’ video.

Taylor Morris and many others have worked to change the perception of girls on the autism spectrum as you just watched. However, we still need to do more.

April is Autism Awareness Month in the United States. I would love to see it be the month we really educate others about girls on the autism spectrum. They are still under-served and under-diagnosed which has been a recurrent theme of mine as you can see from my earlier posts starting in November 2010 by clicking here and then again on March third by clicking here.

Teachers, counselors, and parents continue to miss subtle signs of our high functioning girls. This can cause dire consequences to our girls’ self-esteem which predisposes them to other problems including bullying by others. I am working to change this as is Michelle Haney.Click on the link below to learn more about this:

RN-T.com – Berry students professor to present autism research.

Overcoming Fear for a Cause 7

Orchids - CopyThe Word Press topic of the day is, “What is something you never believed…”  I have always been the wall flower preferring to hide by the rock like these orchids.  I never wanted the spot light, and I have done everything I could to avoid being noticed.  Therefore, I would never have believed I would be trying to get media exposure.   Thankfully in 1992 I graduated Magna Cum Laude from a Jesuit university that focused on public speaking along with writing skills, so I knew I was capable of speaking in a public forum.  However, it has never been something I felt compelled to do. 

The people who chose to bully my child and the parents who did not realize how serious this was forced me to overcome my own desire to stay out of the spot light.  They started me on a mission to change the climate of meanness in our schools and in our society.  This adult, who might have otherwise only spoken to close friends and family about my views, is now working to get others to listen. 

Last night for the first time I found myself on a hour long radio call-in program reminding myself to breathe and working to overcome my nervousness for a cause.  This cause is that important to me.  I want to get others to understand the importance of helping those on the spectrum, to ensure girls get the correct diagnosis sooner, and to ensure they and others have a safe environment for learning.  The show should be available via podcast soon and I will post the link when it is available.